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Louisiana court rules state must issue birth certificate to same-sex adoptive parents

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Louisiana Registrar of Vital Statistics must respect a New York adoption by a same-sex couple of a Louisiana-born baby boy.

The three-member panel voted unanimously to uphold a lower court ruling in favor of Lambda Legal clients Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith. Adar and Smith are a gay couple who adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in New York, where a judge issued an adoption decree.

When the couple attempted to get a new birth certificate for their child, in part so Smith could add his son to his health insurance, the registrar’s office told him that Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents and so could not issue it.

“Even our opponents have said this is a landmark case, and we’re pleased the court agrees that it’s wrong to punish children just because the Registrar doesn’t like their parents,” said Ken Upton, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “Once again, the court is saying that the
Constitution requires state officials across the country to respect the parent-child relationships established by adoption decrees, regardless of the state where that decree is entered.”

Article adapted from original press release